Anatomically Correct

Let’s talk about our private bits. 

Ok, not like in a weird way, and I guess this is more for the parents out there, but how do you approach the subject of anatomy with your kids?

Do you use the real terms, or make up words, or even just ignore them all together?

I’ve noticed that where I nanny, proper terms for body parts aren’t used. And I think this might be the norm for most families, so I’m wondering what you do with your kids?

4th likes to not take showers or baths. When she does, it’s to have a wrestle with a whale or crocodile and the whole bathroom is soaked when she’s done (she’s getting better at it). The first time I was supervising (standing outside the shower curtain to put liquid soap on her hand whenever it emerged from behind it), she wasn’t having a full on shower but just a rinse (which is exactly the same as a shower in my opinion but she calls it something different so I just roll with it to avoid the tears of having to “take a shower”). I told her just to make sure she washed her private parts before coming out of the water. She didn’t understand so I said: “Imagine you are wearing a bikini, wash the parts that it covers. You know your bum and under your arms and stuff” So now I just use “swimsuit parts” and she gets it.

When talking about boys, the family uses the word “part”. It applies to both humans and the dogs (who are both males). When I first heard it, I was a little confused at what they were talking about. But now I can understand without having to focus on the context of the sentence too much, such as “don’t let him lick your face! He was just licking his part!”

So parents, here’s the thing: when do you start to introduce proper terms to your children? As a teacher, I think this is introduced in grade 1 in Ontario in the health curriculum. Do you use the terms penis, breasts, etc at your house? Is that too much for young children? At what age do you think it’s a good time to switch to using proper terms?

Is there really any good time at all to use them? Or should we follow Oprah’s example and just use words like woo-ha and vajayjay (guys…my spell check actually had the proper spelling for vajayjay…) to save ourselves the embarrassment of using the proper terms? Why are we embarrassed to use the proper terms? Notice how I only did once in 450 words?


25 thoughts on “Anatomically Correct

  1. I think my parents went about it backwards; when I was little, I got in trouble at school because I said the word vagina (in context) to my teacher (I think I had a yeast infection or something…). She told me that we don’t use words like that at school. I was very confused when she called my mom about it. But my mom worked at a pediatricians office, so that may have something to do with it.

    It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I started using the PC terms.

    … Now that I think about it, the teacher probably had an issue with me to begin with because I told her that a boy had kicked me in the balls before… I was too little to know the difference in anatomy apparently. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There are no made up terms in my house. They are called by their proper names and always have been, but to save on some embarrassment for a modest tween, for general reference we do say “privates.” However, if there is a problem or pain or a question with a specific body part, we name it so we know exactly where we’re talking about.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I love that your spell check knows about vajayjay! It has a little red line under it when I typed it…so I guess it didn’t make it into all spell checkers!?

    I don’t think I knew the real names for anything until secondary school (biology classes and teenage magazines taught me more than my parents did…) It is pretty strange that as a society we hardly ever use the real terms for private parts.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. As a nanny, I think you need to check in with the parents first. What do they prefer? My son is 17, but I always used the correct terms, even when he was tiny. I wanted to be real, & practical, plus not hiding or ‘shaming’ anything. As an adult now with lovers, I use all different terms, sometimes depending on what my lover prefers, but I’d prefer ‘vagina’ myself. Good post! G 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I never gave this any thought. And I do have kids! We don’t usually use the anatomically correct terms unless there’s an issue of a medical nature… which has yet to occur. I think what happened, kind of, is that the terms we used when the kids were young… babies, even… just kind of stuck. So we sound like we’re running a preschool even though our kids are 12 and 9. But additional terms have been added… like, more mature yet still not technical ones. Such as… “junk” for the boy parts… “stuff” for the girl parts. Or just “boy parts” and “girl parts”. Oh… and “boobs”. And hell, we still pretty much exclusively use the word “poop” for poop. When having a real discussion about the “birds and the bees”, so to speak, we use the proper terms… but those conversations have barely begun at this age… although scary how young you need to start having those talks nowadays. Parenting is hard.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I like bathing suit parts for general small kid conversation. Proper anatomy is important. If you have always taught your kid the word vagina and suddenly she’s calling it a “cupcake” you know something is up and you can dig into why they are saying that. My parents called it “your pee pee” and breasts were boobies. I wish they had used the right terminology but Im also not a huge mess. My old boss out west brought his 8 year old niece to work once and she called it “your grind” which totally set of my cupcake alarm. If you’re 8 and calling it your grind… You might be hugging a stripper pole by 18 years 2 months….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Boobies! I HATE that word. Which is silly, I know. There are probably much better words in the human language to hate but there you have it. The reason why is probably buried somewhere deep in my subconscious, some sort of scarring moment in the school yard maybe? Every time I hear it I physically cringe. I also hate ‘tit’s’ (seriously my lip just turned up typing that!) I tend to only use proper terminology over here but if I had to refer to my breast using slang, I’d have to go with my lovely lady lumps…which is a mouthful, but at least it’s not BOOBIES!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I think just not common to refer to our ‘parts’ in the anatomy based terms. But I think we should. I had an old friend that taught both his girls the right term for it in case something, god forbid, happened to them sexualy inappropriate. They would be able to address what happened without their words or terms being skewed. Yes, it is an uncomfortable subject but we all have either or, may as well accept it. Not that I don’t flinch at those words, have to train ourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve always used the correct terminology. I didn’t want him to feel embarrassed about it, plus I wanted him to be able to identify it if someone touched him. There’s no embarrassment about your anatomy in my house.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I didn’t start using the correct terms with my son until he was maybe 5. I started out with Baby Girl teaching the correct terms, though. (Although I do personally love vajayjay.)

    Liked by 1 person

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